What happens if my partner and I split up?
If you split up from your partner before the embryo(s) is/are transferred or before insemination, it’s vitally important that you both inform your clinic of your separation and whether you wish to change or withdraw the consent that you previously provided. If either of you wishes to change or withdraw your consent, you will need to do this by completing one of our consent forms – your clinic will provide you with the appropriate form.
If one person wants to use the embryos and the other person doesn’t, speak to your clinic about whether you may be able to rely on the one year ‘cooling off period’. The cooling off period enables the clinic to continue storing your sperm, eggs or embryos even though one of you has withdrawn consent while you think through all the issues and come to a final decision. Your clinic should support you both in reaching a resolution.
By law, the embryos can only be used if both parties have given their consent. Consent can be withdrawn at any point up until the embryo is transferred to the womb. If one partner withdraws consent, your clinic must take appropriate steps to inform the other partner that consent has been withdrawn.
If you were having treatment with donated sperm or embryos and you have split up from your partner but are still married/in a civil partnership with them, your partner would still be considered the legal parent of any child born unless you could demonstrate they did not consent to your treatment. There is a HFEA form that you can complete to evidence this (called the LC form-Stating your spouse or civil partner’s lack of consent), but it will not necessarily guarantee that your spouse or civil partner will not be the legal parent. This is a complex area and we advise that you get legal advice and talk this through with your clinic.
If you were having treatment with donated sperm or embryos and you:
- have split up from your partner, and
- you were not married to, or in civil partnership with, them
your clinic will need to establish whether:
- you still consent to your ex-partner being the legal parent of any child born or if you wish to withdraw your consent and carry on treatment as a single parent or with another partner
- your partner still consents to being the legal parent of any child born, or if they wish to withdraw their consent to being the legal parent.